SPANA-Single Parents Are Not Alone

Tucson’s youth are being confronted daily with increasing crime, poor health, and low educational attainment. These issues directly impact our youth and take the form of: neglect,  domestic abuse, gang violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, homelessness, lack of health insurance, truancy, AIMS failure, school drop out, curfew, trespassing, graffiti, etc.

Connecting Communities Foundation works with Neighborhood Associations to create a zone of empowerment (the neighborhood) through grants and it works to empower neighborhood youth by mobilizing nonprofits to deliver positive and life changing services directly to youth. These services take the form in various ways, one being Creative Expression Training - provides youth opportunities to explore their creativity through multiple artistic methods.


 November 20, 2010 - The Lion King

Singing Strong - by Anne Dalton


It's 2:45 p.m. in the cafeteria of Myers-Ganoung Elementary School and 18 students from grades two through five are gathered around Myra Monegan, a volunteer from Single Parents Are Not Alone. She is conducting a rehearsal for the Lion King performance taking place November 30 at the school. This is part of the Creative Expressions program in the Myers neighborhood. It is funded by Connecting Communities Foundation to help students develop confidence and experience being part of something larger than themselves.


Michael Martinez, 31, is the Education Director at Live Theatre Workshop in Tucson. He will provide the theatre instruction.  It is hard to imagine a more enthusiastic group.

Monegan encourages everyone to project their voices to the back of the room. This comes more naturally for some than others.

The other cast members provide the sound effects including mighty lion roars,  fluttering wings and hyena yips.

Monegan, author of the creative expression program, works part-time with single parents and has her own experiences to share in this area.

"I remember how it felt to not have enough time to spend with your kids," she said. Now retired, she recalls that she learned while raising her children that if enough constructive activities were available, it lessens the need for discipline.

That's one reason this after-school program is important. The students themselves have varied reasons for coming.

"I wanted something to do after school instead of being stuck at home," Viviana said. Mirez saw a cousin perform in a play at Pima Community College and was inspired.  Amber wanted to learn something new and likes acting.

Monegan takes the opportunity to raise the bar toward performance standards. This applies not just to the show but to life.

She asked one girl what she wanted to be when she grew up and learned she hoped to be a cheerleader or actress. Monegan commented that she thought she might make a good lawyer because she often tries to negotiate with her when instructions are being given.

This is a passion for me. They are our future." Monegan said.

The group gets coaching on how to work together.

"You handled that reading pretty well. I think the timing could be a little better. Be sure to give people a chance to come up and say their lines. If someone is struggling with a word, don't say it for them. Let them try to figure it out first, O.K? "

They read more lines and are encouraged to memorize them.

When it comes time to sing a chorus of "I Can't Wait to Be King!" everyone sings strong.



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